By Donna Westfall, October 25, 2018 – When you first meet gubernatorial candidate, John Cox, you can be assured he will look you in the eye and give you a firm hand shake. Seasoned politician? I think not although he’s certainly learned the basics of repeating his message often. Professional businessman is more like it.
For a man who’s net worth exceeds an estimated $200 million, I found him to be very down to earth. He hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings and the hard work it took along the way to achieve his goals. Some of those goals; becoming an accountant and a lawyer as well as real estate developer – building apartments.
Here’s the thing. John Cox related that in Indiana he can build wonderful, beautiful apartments for $90,000 a unit. In California, that same unit would cost $200,000 or more in the North Coast area, $500,000 in Los Angeles and $700,000 in the Bay area. Why? It’s not the cost of the land. It’s government costs adding to the housing crisis. Because of all the regulations and red tape. Delays in approvals. Frivolous lawsuits; decades old law called CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) that is being used as a litigation tool to hold up development. Outrageous costs. Too many agencies and hoops you have to jump through which mount up the costs. Just look at the California Coastal Commission and evaluate all the projects they have held up or squashed, not to mention the fees they charge. The middle class are disappearing. People and businesses are leaving the State.
What’s the solution?
After driving around Eureka observing the homeless living in their cars and walking around the city, Cox says, “My first 100 days are going to be devoted to working with the legislature on reducing the time period, the regulatory restrictions and the cost of building homes in this state. We have got to get more building accomplished at lower cost. One of my prime directions is going to be to get this homeless situation rectified by building lower cost housing.”
Another thing, government can’t solve all the ills of society, but they can partner up with organizations.
John Cox talked about the GI bill after hearing that the Eureka Rescue Mission, a non-profit, is supported completely by donations, financial partners and sales from their thrift store. He told the Executive Director, Bryan Hall, Sr., “The GI bill allows people to go to Notre Dame. Did you ever think about that? So, the idea that States supporting this institution, you know, would somehow prevent you from preaching gospel is kinda ridiculous. The GI bill will give a voucher to a serviceman to go to Notre Dame or some other religious based university why is it a problem for the state to give money to a mission that happens also to teach the gospel.”
Let’s back up for a moment. Homelessness comes from a variety of sources. Addictions being at the top of the list. Drugs and alcohol. Then there’s the mentally ill. Then there’s more and more people becoming homeless due to loss of a job, sickness or other disaster; they can no longer afford to live with a roof over their heads. With few safety nets in place, few rescue shelters, people find themselves on the streets. And that, says John Cox, is the crux of the problem. It’s too expensive to live in California. The key issue is AFFORDABILITY.
If there’s only one message candidate Cox get’s across it’s to admit that it’s no longer affordable to live in California. With our legislature raising gas prices without a vote of the people; (something Gov. Brown said he would never do), we now have to hope that the public doesn’t buy in to Sacramento’s whining that they need that gas tax increase to repair road/bridges/potholes. How ridiculous. They have had their hands in the cookie jar taking out oodles of money from the transportation tax fund instead of repairing our roads. As Governor, John Cox is in favor of repealing the gas tax and would put a stop to the money pit called the “bullet train.” That alone would help fix a boatload of problems by stopping the financial hemorrhaging.
But, back to the homelessness problem. As local, Michael Thornton, the Lead Organizer of True North Organizing Network states, “Let’s look at public-private partnerships.” John Cox echo’s this sentiment and takes it a step further that he doesn’t buy the argument that providing clean needles and a safe place to allow addicts to inject poison into their bodies is the solution. He knows that if you want to solve the problem of addicts who are homeless, they first have to become sober. He says, “We need to transition people off opiates and meth and no longer encourage it.”
That’s where places like Our Daily Bread Ministries in Crescent City, led by Mike Justice; and Eureka Rescue Mission come into play. Their goal: “REBUILDING BROKEN LIVES…ONE LIFE AT A TIME”